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Full text of "NightRider"

3*5

his company. He was lonely in Philadelphia, but he did not
make his visits because of that fact; he knew that she had
nothing to say to him and that he had nothing to say to her.
Or rather, he did not go to see her because he expected any
direct alleviation of his loneliness. His communion with her
was like the communion which a worshipper may hold with
the cold, unhuman, blank, and unbending stone of the carved
image. She, too, represented something as cold and unrelent-
ing as fate, for she and he had, in however small a proportion,
the same blood in their veins. They had a common ancestor,
a man whose full name Percy Munn did not know, or had for-
gotten, and whose bones had lain for a long time now in an
obscure crossroads graveyard somewhere in Virginia.

Once he told May about his weekly visits to Miss Sprague.
He described the house and the neighbourhood, the way the
tenants had stared at him in the hall, the very details of Miss
Sprague's room and the life lived there, and, tentatively, how
he had felt when he sat there and read the newspaper to her.

" That was certainly nice of you, Perse," May said, patting
his arm in approbation, " reading to her and all. I'm sure she
appreciated it."

" She didn't appreciate it a damned bit," he asserted.

"Why, that's terrible, Perse. She should have, and you
doing all that for her."

"I didn't do it for her," he said shortly. " I reckon I did it
for myself." That was it, for a fact, he thought; he had done
it for himself. He saw that clearly now, so many years later.

"For yourself?" May asked, her tone puzzled.

"Yes," he replied, "for myself/'

She did not say anything else.

During the weeks when the summer slanted off into fall,
he thought rather often about Miss Sprague. She had, for a
time, while he built up his law practice and wrapped up his
life in May, dwindled into a rarely remembered episode of his
past But now that May was gone and he was alone in the
house, and in fact so often stayed away from town for days at
a time, the recollection of Miss Sprague, and speculations